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Nowadays, the essential role that aquaculture plays in the food-producing industry is remarkably apparent. With their rapid growth rate, market value, and resilience, tilapia is one of the most valuable fish recognized by this sector. Tilapia are relatively simple to cultivate, plus there are numerous ways to cook them in the kitchen. With homegrown food gaining popularity, we will provide you tips on tilapia breeding for beginners to enable you to supercharge your tilapia production operation.
The demand for tilapia breeding is steadily growing. Experts are saying that the breed is no longer a local fish from Africa, but rather tilapia became an international species that may turn globally into an essential fish. And to kick-off your tilapia breeding unit, consider the following guidelines:
- List down your purpose and preparedness
- Verify state regulations
- Establish a project plan and expenses
- Install your tilapia aquaponics
- Purchase your tilapia
- Raise tilapia to mature size
- Harvest time
In this article, we will focus on tilapia breeding for beginners to help growers establish their tilapia facility.
Why Breed Tilapia?
Tilapia belongs to the Cichlid family that originated from the African countries. In the beginning, they were considered wild fish found in rivers and lakes in the African continent. When the Second World War ceased, it marked the beginning of tilapia farming in the country and eventually expanded internationally. Some of the major commercial producers of tilapia are the United States, Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia.
Dubbed by others as the “aquatic chicken”, growers are now cultivating tilapia worldwide. Chefs embrace the mild-tasting fish into their kitchen with various delectable recipes incorporating tilapia as the main ingredient. Though the carp species is still the top aquaculture product, others encounter issues such as stale taste and discovering bones inside the fillets. Thus, empowering experts to proclaim tilapia will become a significant aquaculture breed globally.
Tilapia Breeding For Beginners
One of the great things about breeding tilapia is that growers can use fish waste by cultivating crops alongside media beds like kale, lettuce, and cucumbers. In regularly monitoring the system, gardeners will have the opportunity to grow thriving vegetables and fish to commercially market or home consumption. Here are some basic pointers you can look into when planning your tilapia breeding:
List Down Your Purpose And Preparedness
Essential to realize when planning on breeding tilapia is to identify your purpose in taking the project. Is your goal to produce food for your family or earn a profit? If you are planning to start small, are you looking to invest in a large-scale operation in the future? While embarking on tilapia breeding will not cost you an enormous capital investment, it will still entail a reasonable budget.
Find out if you have resources or materials on hand you can use for your unit to reduce expenses. Although the fish is straightforward to cultivate, acquiring some training about tilapia breeding will undoubtedly contribute to your facility’s success. If you have no issues with all of the points raised, you may continue the next step.
Verify State Regulations
Different states implement varying local laws. As such, before starting with tilapia breeding, whether for personal consumption, it is wise to lookup local regulations regarding acquiring and owning tilapia. In coordinating with local authorities, they may even assist with your project. In case you plan to market the tilapia you raise, growers will have to acquire business permits and licenses mandated by the area.
Establish A Project Plan And Expenses
Devise a plan on how you will breed your tilapia. Aspects such as tilapia breeding education and how you handle expenses are a few items you must consider. For example, to understand more about tilapia culture, do you plan to invest in books, attend short courses, utilize online information, or ask local agents for assistance?
An integral part of the plan also is to determine your available budget. In doing this, you can plan which equipment you can buy brand new, used, or procure improvised materials.
Take note also that to ensure optimal growth of your tilapia, growers should observe the proper parameters in their system. While tilapia are hardy fish that can withstand a wide range of water conditions, gardeners still need to maintain the required system conditions. Hence, consider planning on where to purchase good condition fish, how you will feed them, and how you plan to observe proper system parameters.
Install Your Tilapia Aquaponics
When breeding tilapia using fish tanks, remember to set up your system safely. Consider purchasing high-quality materials and install your fish tanks in a stable environment. This way, you can avoid your container from sinking into the ground or worse, collapsing in the middle of the night. Newbies should consider starting a small-scale operation, then expand into a bigger system when their expertise develops.
Purchase Your Tilapia
With your plan and environment prepared, it is now time to bring in the tilapia. Remember to purchase only from a credible dealer to ensure you’ll receive your tilapia in good condition. Often, growers begin with tilapia fingerlings. These are juvenile species sized approximately 0.75 inches to 2 inches.
Once you have your tilapia fingerlings, you should acclimatize them to their new environment. One right way to gradually adjust them to their new environment is to allow the transportation of plastic bags with the fingerlings inside to float in the receiving fish tank. Do this for roughly 15 minutes.
Once done, add small quantities of water from the receiving tank to the plastic transportation container with the fingerlings. The process will take another 15 minutes to acclimatize the fingerlings smoothly. After this, you can safely transfer the tilapia fingerlings to their new fish tank.
Raise Tilapia To Mature Size
The growing parameters you will need to monitor in your system will depend on the tilapia variety you will raise. For example, the Mozambique and Nile tilapia thrive in water temperatures 82°F to 86°F and 88°F to 97°F, respectively. Usually, most fish survive in 4-5 mg/liter of dissolved oxygen levels. However, consider 5-7 mg/liter of dissolved oxygen for optimal growth.
When it comes to pH levels, again, the suitable range will depend on the tilapia variety. For example, the Mozambique tilapia prefers pH levels between 5 to 9. Moreover, aside from cultivating fish, remember to separate your adult broodstock fish that is not for harvesting but species for breeding. Following this process will ensure your tilapia breeding will be sustainable.
After the grow-out stage, the tilapia are fit for harvesting. When you pursue a strict maintenance checklist to maintain your facility, you can expect to harvest a mature tilapia between 6 to 8 months. If you are breeding tilapia for home consumption, you can start enjoying that new recipe you recently learned. Otherwise, if you intend to produce commercially, then you can begin marketing your homegrown product.
The tilapia fish that was once found wild in African waters is now garnering massive acceptance globally. It is no surprise then that nearly 100 countries worldwide are now practicing tilapia breeding. With their affordable price, resilient trait, and mild flavor, experts say tilapia will fast become the food fish of the century.
To embark on tilapia breeding, elements such as writing down your purpose, verifying state regulations, establishing a project plan, and expenses are essential items that need consideration. If you wish to learn more about the best tilapia variety to cultivate, click here.